Protesters gathered outside police department in Salt Lake City, Utah

Protesters gathered outside police department in Salt Lake City, Utah

On September 2, as the sun set on the Salt Lake City Police Department, you
could hear people chanting: “Acts of police brutality, not in our community!” Organized by Utah Against Police Brutality, and with speakers from UAPB, Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Industrial Workers of the World, over 100 people including members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation gathered to demand the termination of Detective Jeff Payne.

Jeff Payne has been placed on paid leave after body cam footage surfaced of him and another officer forcibly removing nurse Alex Wubbels from the University of Utah Hospital. Wubbels, in line with both federal law and hospital protocol, had informed the officers that they could not draw blood from an unconscious patient whose truck had been totaled by a suspect in a police chase.

At the rally, one speaker noted that, not only did two officers arrest Wubbels, two hospital security guards also assisted and opened the doors for the arrest to continue. Citizens and speakers at the rally were not only demanding the firing of Payne, but a radical change in how police operate and function in our community. There were chants for community control; for the community to take the power from the police and put it back into the hands of the people, with a focus on citizen-led oversight.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the police department will try and frame this incident as an anomaly, when we know this isn’t the case. We must continue to struggle and fight for the safety and protection of our communities.